Tuesday Buzz: A-List Lessons From the Met Gala

The planner of the glamorous charity benefit reveals some event-planning secrets. Also: simple ways to prevent nonprofit burnout.

Monday’s Met Gala, an annual charity event benefiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, saw a slew of the rich and famous walking the red carpet. The gala received a crush of press coverage, and the couture clothing of superstars like Rihanna, Katy Perry, and Selena Gomez will have people talking for weeks.

As you can imagine, a ton of meticulous planning must go into an event deemed “fashion’s biggest night out.” Fast Company spoke with Met Gala planner Sylvana Durrett about how she has brought the event together for the past nine years and the lessons she’s learned along the way.

Durrett says the team begins planning the event nearly a year out. “There’s just so much detail. We have a whole fashion GPS system that tracks the guests and their arrival times,” she says. “From the red carpet to dinner, there’s so many steps in between.”

Durrett delegates many responsibilities to a trusted group of colleagues who help manage much of the planning. But one task she won’t hand off is making the seating arrangement. She notes: “We take pride in our seating because people routinely come up to us and say, ‘I’m so happy you sat me next to this person. I would have never thought to talk to them.'”

But no matter how much careful planning you do, someone is going to find something to complain about. How does she respond? “You have to come away confident in the notion that you are doing your best and that inevitably not everyone will be happy.”

Staying Engaged

We all know people from the nonprofit world who have burned out. It can happen to the best of us.

To help you stay energized, the MemberClicks blog shares a few tactics to help you avoid overworking.

Don’t let your work ethic prevent you from taking breaks. Battle your instinct to keep working by scheduling downtime in your calendar. Whether it’s a vacation in the future or just an hour every evening, write it down.

“Your brain NEEDS this downtime,” Callie Walker writes. “And it will help you approach projects (and problems) with a clear mind in the morning.”

Make coaching a priority. You can keep your employees engaged by supporting their professional development, says CMS Wire.

Can you transform a dysfunctional organizational culture? Meeting designer and facilitator Adrian Segar talks about the big hurdles hindering change.

Video best practices. Eventbrite reveals the best ways to use video at your next meeting.

Rihanna, shown at last night's Met Gala in New York City. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

Raegan Johnson

By Raegan Johnson

Raegan Johnson is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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